Law firm denies celebs are ‘paying to avoid scandal’

A TOP law firm that represents celebrity figures seeking injunctions defended the practice yesterday, denying it was a just a way for the rich and famous to avoid scandal.

Carter Ruck, which has been behind many of the attempts to gag the press, said its clients were playing a risky game in applying for the court orders.

And the majority of those appealing for media blackouts on the subject of their indiscretions are “probably people you and I have never heard of”, managing partner Cameron Doley said.

“The rich and famous can’t pay their way out of scandal. These things are high-risk,” he said.

“It’s not just the rich and famous and the law shouldn’t be for the rich and famous. The protection of privacy is perhaps more important to genuinely private people.”

His comments came the day after a married Premier League footballer who reportedly had an affair with Big Brother’s Imogen Thomas won the right to continue his anonymity.

In another High Court hearing, Mr Justice Eady has agreed to issue a final “contra mundum” order — one against “the whole world” — in the case of a man who sought a ban on the publication of what he said was confidential material about his private life.

Giving his reasons yesterday for making the order, sought by the claimant at a hearing on April 6, the judge said the High Court could use its inherent jurisdiction to grant injunctions banning anyone and everyone from publishing material “wherever it is necessary and proportionate” to use it to protect an individual’s rights.

It is thought to be the first time such an order has been issued in a privacy case.

The decision marks yet another step in the move by the courts to extend protections for the right to respect for privacy and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

But it also marks a further advance in the steps the courts are prepared to take in restricting the right to freedom of expression under Article 10

The hearings were among several held in the High Court over so-called gagging orders banning reporting of the activities of various public figures.

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